Japanese Wedding

The ceremonies I perform are all different and I was so pleased to be contacted by Keishu from Japan who was the interpreter for her friends Jin and Noriko.  They wanted to have a wonderful English wedding over here with all their families and friends and chose The Rectory in Malmesbury as their venue.  Many emails flew across the sea and we eventually met on the day for the rehearsal at 9am.  By this time I felt I knew them well and finally meeting them was lovely.

The Ceremony started at 2pm with a gong for the entrance of the bridegroom, Jin in full traditional Japanese dress.  Noriko then walked down the aisle with her proud father.  She was  wearing  a beautiful white wedding dress and looked beautiful.


They chose a Rose Ceremony to show the joining of their families, repeated vows that they had learnt in English, lit a candle then, after signing the register and Jin kissing his bride, they emerged into the cold autumn air and released balloons with wildflower seeds inside.

I was so proud to have been part of their day.



I recently performed a wedding in Torre Abbey, Torquay to a lovely couple who met while they were both working as Underwater Diving Photographers in Thailand. We met, after months of email contact, for the first time the day before for the rehearsal and I finally met their gorgeous baby, Matt. Charlie’s mum sent me these words.

“I have to let you know how much we enjoyed the ceremony on Saturday. It was beautiful and so very fitting for Charlie and Catherine and appreciated by all who attended. It made the occasion very special.”

Editorial for Reconnect Magazine



I had a wonderful response from this editorial in Reconnect Magazine.  Local people made contact to find out about me and I have been asked to talk to two organisations about my work.  Have a look and see what you think?

CELEBRATING significant moments of change in our lives is something that has happened throughout history and in all societies. A special ceremony gives greater meaning to these special moments and is particularly powerful when shared with family and friends.

Independent celebrant Sarah Chapman conducts ceremonies for weddings, funerals, renewal of vows and naming ceremonies.

She has been asked to perform ceremonies in all kinds of unusual places, including a beach at sunset, a clifftop at sunrise, Living Coasts and even a yurt. Couples and families choose the time, place and format for their celebration, and invite the guests. Sarah then spends time getting to know them and creates vows and readings especially for them.

“Many people don’t know they can celebrate their vows wherever they want to; it is simply the civil marriage that has to be conducted by the registrar,” said Sarah. “I have been privileged to perform wedding ceremonies for couples from Japan and Italy who wished for a real English wedding and brought their own interpreter.”

She suggests adding some ceremonial or symbolic elements, such as lighting candles, releasing balloons, or adding messages to a wishing tree to make the event even more personal and special.

“For funerals I offer families a ceremony that reflects their wishes, beliefs and values. While not a religious ceremony as such, religious content may be included, such as prayers or hymns,” Sarah said.

Sarah also writes and performs memorials and scattering of ashes ceremonies. For people who want to arrange their own ceremony before they die, she offers a Bespoke Funeral Wishes service.

There is growing demand for these types of ceremonies and Sarah says there is nothing better than receiving a hug or a handshake and a heartfelt thank you for a job well done.

Visit www.celebrationceremoniessouthwest.com or call 07870 763304.

Mark and Tamara’s Wedding Day

It was a hot, sunny day in August in deepest Cornwall when Mark and his beautiful bride Tamara had their Wedding Ceremony.  The bride’s family had travelled all the way from Italy and Tamara’s best friend translated the vows and promises into Italian for the guests.  Even the Alpacas were groomed and smiling!  Mark had built a special wooden structure just for the Ceremony and Tamara had imported a Murano glass Chandelier which was lit throughout the day.

Their guests were rapt as I performed a Handfasting Ceremony for Mark and Tamara followed by a standing ovation.  At the end of the beautiful ceremony which included poems from Mark’s children, vows written by the couple and spoken (for the first time) to each other and signing a certificate, Mark and Tamara released balloons with wildflower seeds inside to express their love for each other.  The toast said it all:  “May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live”

War Veteran Remembered

A small funeral on a hot day in September of a man in his 90s who had been one of the first to land in Normandy on D Day 6th June 1944.  I spent a lovely couple of hours with his son talking about life and families.  A memorable day.
A brief note to thank you very much for the service you conducted for my father at Exeter yesterday. We were a very small congregation, but your words and delivery made the event feel personal and special to all of us, and you balanced the inevitable sadness of the day with some real warmth and some amusing touches. We all felt that you struck absolutely the right note of respect and affection; my father was not an easy person to please, but one of his grandchildren said afterwards: “Even Grandpa would have been pleased with that.”
Personally I’d also like to thank you for the kindness and tact that you showed me when we talked about my father. It was a helpful part of the whole grieving process.

The nature of these events and the fact that we don’t have other family in the area means that our paths are unlikely to cross in future; but you made the day memorable for us, and we are grateful.

Wonderful Music

I performed a ceremony for a wonderful lady recently and her husband chose 5 pieces of music and a hymn.  He listened to each one and checked that all the words were correct then sent them to me to put in the Order of Ceremony.  As they meant so much to them both, everyone could then read the words when listening to the music.  It was a double slot at the Crematorium so there was no rush and I could read his beautiful tribute to his beloved wife.  Her daughter made all the 80 guests a sunflower to wear as it was her favourite flower.  The sun shone through the windows and reflected the bright yellow we were all wearing.  Truly an uplifting and glorious occasion.  Her family sent me this thank you:
We wanted to take this opportunity to say a huge “Thank You”, once again, for helping us to give Mum the celebration we felt she deserved and  would have chosen herself. Dad, myself, and my sisters, felt you conducted the service with great warmth and sensitivity and we also got many positive comments from other guests. 
This has been, as it is for so many, a momentous occasion for us and your contribution to helping ease us through the difficult process of the official “Farewell” has been significant and so gratefully received. 
We wish you all the best and know that other families will benefit from your kindness in the future. 
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